Why you need to learn about two-factor authentication

April 17th, 2013


Think your company’s computers are protected with the use of conventional passwords? Guess again. Too many of your staff count on simple passwords that are easy for hackers to guess (download our recent whitepaper on Passwords for more great password tips). Others use the same password for multiple Web sites, computers and mobile devices. This means that once cyber criminals hack that password, they can easily gain access to an array of other sites and devices. This is exactly why a recent story by Biztech Magazine identifies two-factor authentication as a growing trend among businesses that take security seriously.

How it works

Two-factor authentication works so well because it requires users to take two separate actions to log onto a machine or Web site, according to the Biztech story. That’s enough to chase away the majority of cyber criminals who will go on to target companies with weaker protection. In a typical two-step authentication setup, end users must use both a password and something else to log onto their machines or Web sites. A user might have to swipe a smart card or insert a token. A company may even rely on biometric identifiers as the all-important second step.

The starting point

To be sure that your company’s move to two-factor authentication goes well, you’ll need to do some research. Biztech Magazine suggests studying the options for your second factor so you pick one that fits best with how your personnel work. For example, if a lot of your staff rely on smartphones while at the office, a smart card might not be your best option. That’s because most smart cards don’t work with smartphones. Choosing the right factor will make a big difference in selling two-factor authentication to your business’ employees.

Take your time

Change often tends to be best received with a simple heads-up.  Give your employees a chance to get used to the idea of two-factor authentication before you officially launch it. You ought to give your workers the opportunity to ask questions about how the process works. This also provides you with time to explain just why two-step authentication is necessary and how it can provide better protection to the company.